When I’m asked why I paid to upgrade my OKCupid account for additional features, I usually tell them it’s just so I can have access to the list of people who highly rated my profile in order to message them.
The real story is that one of the questions asked of OKCupid users is whether or not they dislike cats, and I wanted to be able to filter out those men who don’t like cats. The fact of the matter is, I am looking for a long-term partner at this point in my life, and that partner also loving my cat, Keith, is going to be hugely important to me. Some may say that it is this kind of behavior that makes cat ladies die alone. But cat ladies never die alone, they die with their cats!
For those dates who don’t come from OKCupid, of which I have a relatively decent amount, figuring out if my date is a cat person is a bit trickier. There are some people who throw themselves out of the running right away by admitting that they hate cats. But others might attempt to disguise their cat contempt and play along that they are fine with cats. Here are five ways to spot them.
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1. He uses the line “I like cats, but dogs are just SO much better”
This statement seems benign at first — they simply have a preference for dogs. As a huge dog lover, I understand their appeal and hold nothing against those that prefer dogs. My first and only love was unapologetically more of a dog person but he still cared about our cat deeply. So when I think of what I would do if told by a date that he had a dog or loved dogs, my response would be, “Oh, me too!” and some further attempt to connect on the topic. It isn’t like comparing favorite football teams where the competitive banter can be flirtatious — this statement is a totally unnecessary degradation of your animal companion, when there are plenty of other affirming ways of acknowledging your cat love. The “Oh, I’m just a dog person” excuse doesn’t have to be offensive in the way that the above statement is, by unnecessarily comparing one to the other to make your animal preference seem inferior.
2. He doesn’t immediately attempt to win your cat’s favor on his first visit to your home
In the same way that I would see it is a huge red flag if a date did not introduce himself and acknowledge a roommate (if I had one), if there is a living, breathing creature in the room with you and he doesn’t say hello or attempt to make some kind of connection, it indicates not mere ambivalence but strong dislike. Cats are living things and while they aren’t going to have a chat with your date about the latest in local politics, they deserve acknowledgement and wooing from a potential partner. If he doesn’t make the attempt, it indicates a level of disinterest, which can be a deal-breaker for people whose cats are tremendously important in their lives.
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3. He calls your cat “it” when he has been informed of the cat’s name
Again, your cat is a living creature, which you have clearly deigned to share living space with. Your cat has a name. If he can’t be bothered to remember it and use it, chances are he doesn’t have any intentions of caring about the cat’s well-being or respecting the value of you and your cat’s relationship. Your cat is not a piece of furniture or head of lettuce. No one calls your cat “it,” period.
4. He delivers the “Yeah, you can definitely tell you have a cat” line upon entering your home
As someone who obsessively cleans my cat’s litter, I still get self-conscious when bringing a guy over because of the possibility that Keith has just dropped something serious in the litter box. The reality is that cat facilities are indoors and without proper diligence it can smell a bit like, well, you know. But bringing up this fact is not only an insult to you and your home, it is a snide reminder that many who dislike cats like to make: that cats are gross because they go inside. As a dog-lover, I won’t go too far into the (non) merits of a species that defecates in THE STREET, which then has to be cleaned up after in the freshest state, but can we all just agree that taking care of pet business is all equally unpleasant in different ways? Your home’s vague smell of cat is fine, don’t let a hater tell you otherwise.
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5. He EVER utters the words “It’s just a cat”
I can’t count the number of times I have heard this, whether it is in regard to me needing to pick up cat food or the prospect of just “upgrading” to a dog when I have the time, money, and real estate. Yes, sir, I do need to leave (or at least detour) from our date to pick up food for my cat because even though she is JUST a cat, she is (surprise surprise!) capable of hunger, malnutrition, and even starvation! No, sir, I do not wish to abandon my “starter” pet for a dog when I live in a building that allows it and I have the disposable income for a dog walker. Once I got this line when asked about moving out of the country at some point, and I said it would depend on the quarantine regulations of the country. He couldn’t conceive of that playing a role in whether or not one might pursue a job or an extended stay in another country. After all, it’s JUST a cat to them.
So what do you think? Are these fair? Any other helpful tips for spotting the stealth feline haters that we should look out for? Let us know in the comments.
Photo: Young woman with cat by Shutterstock